Night Shift – A Prose Poem

Arrive at scene after blueing the night. Men and children in fright. Car upended, body suspended. Racing pulse of the rescue driver, prompt action of the fire crew.

Forces gather to pump and sweat. Last corner taken too fast, now strangers regret. Young boy staring up from the concrete. His chest pumped by ambulance crew, alas he did not renew. Oh why did he not slow down, now the police frown.

Next morning as it is dawning, a new shout to an old lout. 78 yesterday, indigestion not gone away. Jokes and checks, then the worst. The old boy croaks as the fire stokes. Onto the chest, in with the mask, oxygen on high, please God let this one last. Pulse checked, no rhythm.

Cannula, miraculous drugs inserted, shock delivered. Pulseless and still, hope fading, morning sun rising. Shocked wife and family, still we are pumping my crew mate and me. Breathing for him, the head bearer pauses, another shock and…

Ray of light peeps through the curtains from the night. Pulse returns, crew in shock, this one beat the clock. Transport arranged, light heartedness refrain. He will be alright, this old Jack.

Home to bed, neighbours awaking, Thoughts of the dead, eyes not sinking. Partner awakes, “Good shift?”, “Not bad, one all, it a shame Mort scored.” Still thinking, not sleeping, wish I could go drinking.

by Benbo Smith from the collection Beginnings available here

Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash